In the Cloud
It is easier, cheaper, safer, better, faster, more reliable and promises to make you breakfast in the morning. The cloud. Now that we have placed everything important to us in the cloud, the cloud has us.
Look, I’ll keep this a simple thought exercise for you. Cloud computing and subscription services offer a compelling argument on the surface. The problem is that you have to give up everything and put it in the trust of a service provider. That service provider has many customers just like you. That said, they don’t really care about you as an individual, they care about the masses. Think about it. If you place your operations in the hands of a cloud service provider, you are at their mercy. The costs seem to be lower up front. The problem is that you don’t really know the costs. There isn’t a clear “cloud economics” understanding. The people that you depend on to manage your most valuable assets are somewhere behind a smoke screen. You don’t even know who they are. The SLA is garbage and if something fails, you are the one looking bad.
You have to also consider that if every one of your competitors have the same exact services, the vendors are flattening out competitive advantage. They are technologically leveling the playing field. Having an advantage with technology used to be a differentiator. Today, the cloud service providers say things like “let me introduce you to Judy, she is your direct competitor and she can tell you how great we are.” Could you imagine football teams going over to each others camps and going “oh yeah, here is our playbook, here is our timing for passing plays.” That is what these vendors do. The companies don’t realize they are sharing more than just technological capabilities.
Not only do the cloud providers level the playing field for competition, they take knowledge they gain to shape their product and make YOU pay for it. That’s right, they don’t need consultants because they have YOU.. Want an expert in something that hurts a business in a particular area? Just offer them an avenue to talk about their pain. The service providers learn from the consumers in ways that are essentially unethical. The problem for the service consumer and your business is that now you have no choice but to make them better. You have little choice BUT to share because without them, your business will suffer.
The Cost of Cloud
There are many benefits to shared remote computing concepts. There are opportunities to save money and gain efficiencies. Companies are unknowingly giving everything up and they don’t realize it. There isn’t privacy and because we are dealing with trust relationship through contracts, the people managing your business have no connection to you. There are a lot of implications for a lack of human connectivity. People still run these services and they are still motivated by human factors. When your company just becomes 100291 how could they possibly even know to care? The only time they could know to care is if you are down for some reason. Even then.. why would they care? Fact is they don’t.
Corporate leaders are apathetic and now tolerate bad service because they look at it as a choice. They recognize that they are making a sacrifice when subscribing. The providers are certain to tell the consumer in writing on page 90001 section 1000.2343 appendix 3 that “any services provided are at our pleasure and benefit” Meaning, if the provider makes a change, the business goes with it.
Bottom line, many companies today are freely giving the control to providers. The lack of understanding from a senior leadership aspect is only realized when bad things happen. Once that happens, it is too late. The company is in. Now all of your most valuable knowledge is in the cloud at your fingertips and ready for you to use at anytime but totally out of your control.
This may be the way the world is going, but we should at least think about this and challenge what these companies are doing. I believe there will cloud regulation and service providers will be treated at some point like a utility service. We shall see….